73 Cows by Alex Lockwood was named Best Overall Film at the festival, which took place over the weekend at the Mayfair Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The event showcased a collection of short and feature length films.
The film follows English cattle farmer Jay Wilde who gives his cows to a sanctuary and goes vegan after seeing the animals as sentient individuals. It also raises questions about the dilemmas and struggles faced by many farmers.
Vegan film festival
"For the team and I, even getting into OIVFF and to be featured alongside such great films was a real privilege and a big deal for us," said director Alex Lockwood in a statement sent to Plant Based News.
"So, to have been chosen as Best Overall Film feels amazing. Having set out to make the film with no budget and a team of four, we’re absolutely delighted that 73 Cows is being received in the way that it is.
"A huge personal thanks to Jay and Katja (and the cows) is in order, as without them being as accommodating as they were, we wouldn’t have been able to make this film. So, from me (Alex), Ollie, John and Nishat we just want to say a big thank you to OIVFF and a huge congratulations to all films who were involved."
The film is available to watch on Vimeo
'Beautiful and moving'
"73 Cows is a beautiful and moving film that traces Jay's journey through the changes he never expected," said the Jury statement.
"It is an exquisite meditation about the bond between man and beast, and a profound portrait of a man awakening to the call of conscience, compassion and courage."
In addition to winning the Best Overall Film award, 73 Cows also won the Best Lifestyle Film at the Festival. Other winners included Promises, which won the Best Animal Welfare Film award, Eating You Alive, which was awarded the Best Health and Nutrition Film prize, and Where Do We Go?, which took home the Best Environmental Film award.
Watch 73 Cows on Vimeo here